For me, a traditional Turkish breakfast, popularly known as breakfast, is the best meal of the day. I could eat it seven days a week. Usually there will be black and green olives, cucumbers, cold cuts, dips and sauces, eggs, a variety of fresh cheeses and tomatoes, canned fruits and jams, honey, sweet molasses, fresh bread and pastries and butter. All of these things can be found in any Turkish supermarket, but at my restaurant, Zahter, we like to make our own breads and pastries and the fillings for them. Lap up this jam of sour cherries, mulberry molasses tahini and sugar for cheese with clotted cream and toast – or even try making your own openinga soft buttery Turkish bagel.
Tahin grape molasses (tahini with mulberry molasses)
Preparation 5 minutes
100g of tahini
50g mulberry molasses (I like Koska, which is widely available online)
Sesame seeds or toasted nuts, to serve
Mix tahini and molasses until combined. Serve in a dish sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds or walnut pieces. It’s that simple! It will keep for a week in the fridge, or up to a month in the freezer.
Cherry Jam (cherry jam)
During the beautiful summer days in Turkey, we make jams naturally in the sun to obtain a beautiful color and an intense flavor. The jam is boiled for less time, before being spread on trays in the sun on terraces or balconies for about a week, until it reduces and blends well.
Preparation 15 minutes
To cook 40 minutes
Makes 4 to 5 jars of jam of 200 ml
1 kg sour cherries (or any seasonal fruit), halved and pitted
1kg roulette sugar
Put the cherries and the sugar in a saucepan and leave to macerate overnight.
The next morning, bring the cherries and sugar to a boil and simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes, until reduced to a jam-like consistency. Be patient, but don’t let the jam get too dark. When you think it’s ready, do the crease test: pour some jam onto a plate that’s been in the freezer for two minutes. Let sit for a minute, then push the jam down with your finger – if it wrinkles, it’s done.
Pour the jam into sterilized jars and close them. Store in a dark place for up to one year; once opened, refrigerate and consume within two to three months.
Sweet for (cottage cheese)
At the restaurant, we make our own sweetness for by curdling the milk and straining it, but it’s a very easy process to try at home.
Preparation 5 minutes
To cook 10 minutes
500ml milk (pasteurized)
1½ tsp apple cider vinegar
170g greek yogurt
Juice of ¼ lemon
Combine milk, vinegar, yogurt and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to medium heat. When the mixture begins to curdle, set aside in a bowl, preferably overnight.
The next morning, strain the contents of the bowl through a muslin cloth to remove the water. It is best to store it in the fridge for a day before serving to get the sweet flavor. It will then keep in the refrigerator for three to four days.
Opening (Turkish Bagels)
Preparation 30 minutes
To cook 15 minutes
200g of water
250g of milk
250g sunflower oil
25g caster sugar
1kg natural plain flour
130g soft buttersoftened
For the icing
2 egg yolks
15 g of nigella seeds
Combine the first seven ingredients in a large bowl and knead until it forms a nice soft dough.
Divide the dough into 17 balls of 130g each, then shape them between your palms into a rectangle about 20cm wide.
Spread the softened butter over the dough and roll into a long sausage shape. Fold the ends together, then twist the dough and shape it into a bagel shape, sealing the ends together. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
Place the açma on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, making sure to leave a space between each one. Brush the açma with the egg yolks and sprinkle with nigella seeds.
Bake in a heated oven at 165 C (145 C fan)/315 F/Gas 2¾ for 15 minutes or until the açma is a rich, golden color. Serve hot. You can also freeze the açma before baking: remove them and let them rise for an hour or two before baking. Enjoy your meal!